By Cliff Rold
The cast of characters at Flyweight has delivered over and over again in the last couple years.
Two of the most exciting of their cadre did it again on Saturday night, delivering exactly what it looked like they might: the latest Fight of the Year contender in a year with more than its share.
For twelve action packed rounds, Giovani Segura and Tyson Marquez traded bombs and took rounds off the rest of each other’s careers. Segura’s constant pressure ever threatened to wilt the resolve of Marquez but then Marquez would find a way to land the counters he needed and stay alive.
It was fabulous stuff. What it said about the Flyweight division was too.
Let’s go to the report card.
Pre-Fight: Speed – Marquez B; Segura B-/Post: B-; B-
Pre-Fight: Power – Marquez B+; Segura A-/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Defense – Marquez B-; Segura C-/Post: C; B-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Marquez B+; Segura B+/Post: B+; A
While Segura was clearly ahead by at least a few points going into the final round, the fight still had enough momentum swings to provide drama throughout. Segura has the body of a Flyweight but he has the chin of a wooly mammoth. He has taken bombs from an assortment of men with proven power, Marquez now added to the list.
He wobbles but he doesn’t go down.
Marquez does, and did again Saturday. After being rocked bad in the first, Marquez appeared to win the next two but a delayed reaction to a shot high on the head put him on a knee in the fourth. He endured a vicious fifth before the fight leveled out a bit in the sixth and then Marquez put two more in the bank. He did it by countering and blocking enough to stop Segura from just running him over.
The last four rounds were all action, Marquez making a case for the better work in ten or eleven. He suffered a debatable knockdown call in the latter that likely cost him the round (official scores are as yet unavailable), but the effort of both was superlative.
The closing sequence was violent and appropriate. Segura was working Marquez on the ropes only to be countered and stunned. Marquez gave chase, hoping for a big finish.
Hope was extinguished with a brutal, final left hook.
It was one hell of a fight.
108 and 115, in the 90s and 00s respectively, both had exceptional runs. 112 has often been a case of failure to launch. There have been excellent fights and plenty of talent, but politics and geography have placed an undue ceiling on how good any period of time could be.
Anyone remember Mark Johnson vs. Yuri Arbachakov?
Things are different right now. The fights are happening. A serious depth of talent is there. Let’s just take a look at the current BoxingScene Flyweight ratings:
World Flyweight Champion: Akira Yaegashi (18-3, 9 KO, Lineal/TBRB/Ring/WBC)
Top Ten Contenders
1. Juan Francisco Estrada (25-2, 18 KO, WBO/WBA Super, 1 Defense)
2. Edgar Sosa (49-7, 29 KO)
3. Brian Viloria (32-4, 19 KO)
4. Giovanni Segura (31-3, 27 KO)
5. Toshiyuki Igarashi (17-2-1, 11 KO)
6. Juan Carlos Reveco (32-1, 17 KO, WBA Regular, 3 Defenses)
7. Hernan Marquez (36-4, 26 KO)
8. Luis Concepcion (30-3, 22 KO)
9. Milan Melindo (29-1, 12 KO)
10. Rocky Fuentes (35-6-2, 20 KO)
Fuentes isn’t a bad fighter but it’s easy to predict that he could be bumped from the ratings soon for former Jr. Flyweight titlist Roman Gonzalez (36-0, 30 KO). Including Gonzalez, we’re looking at a class with 10 current or former titlists from 105-112, all of them so far still in excellent form.
Excellent IBF titlist Moruti Mthlane is still a factor too though he is having issues with activity.
And they’ve been fighting each other. Estrada’s wins over Viloria and Melindo, Viloria’s wins over Segura and Marquez, and Sosa’s win over Segura and pending fight with Yaegashi are only some of the action. The chance for a great fight to break out is there in almost any mix and match of these men.
The division has it all: skill, power, experience, youthful energy and veteran savvy…but not size.
Size is a factor for US TV, fair or unfair. It’s shame. HBO and Showtime could both make any card better with any two of these men. The best division in boxing right now might be Flyweight.
It might be having its best run since the 1970s.
It’s criminal if the masses don’t get a better look at this before its over.
No, the HBO main event is not forgotten…here are the post-fight grades:
Pre-Fight: Speed – Golovkin B+; Stevens B+/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Power – Golovkin A; Stevens B+/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Defense – Golovkin B; Stevens C/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Golovkin A; Stevens B-/Post: A; B+
Stevens ability to get up in round two, and even win some moments of the fight (in not more than one round at most) was commendable…Golovkin missed a second-round knockout by only seconds. With a little more time, that thing was over. What a hook…Golovkin did what he was supposed to do and needs more of the same to turn up the heat on Middleweight king Sergio Martinez. Staying active and staying concussive is the recipe for success. His resume is still building. In the ring, he’s several steps ahead of anyone else at 160 right now. Martinez can finish healing but let’s hope he doesn’t run from Golovkin on that bum knee forever…Wishes for recovery go out to Heavyweight Magomed Abdulsalamov. He gave a great show in defeat to Mike Perez. That fighting spirit is needed now.
Report Card Picks 2013: 46-24
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]